But it’s not just employees that can benefit from working remotely. When it comes to remote work, islands are starting to embrace what other more densely populated areas are finding to be true. There are benefits to the surrounding areas when remote work is involved. Islands can stand to gain a lot when it comes to allowing knowledge workers to reside and work on their turf.
Let's take a look at ways Islands can benefit by allowing knowledge/remote workers.
Islands worldwide are rolling out the red carpet for people willing to transfer internationally (or even locally) for remote work, and with good reason. Allowing remote work can bring in a flood of diversity on an island. That diversity goes just beyond race and ethnicity – you can swing the doors wide open for a flood of life experiences, ideas and cultural diversification.
This does not in any way mean that the culture of the island should change, but in general, varied life experiences can contribute to better teamwork when it comes to solving problems and the exchange of ideas. Those moving to an island can bring along pieces that contribute to the island’s diversity and take some with them when they go.
Who knows – that next discussion at the bar could lead to a business venture that takes off tremendously!
Bring in money from outside locations
Another benefit to allowing for remote workers is that islands can dictate financial requirements and how money is spent. Many island locations require that remote workers must have a means of supporting themselves outside of the local currency. This often means that their own national currency can have a stronger buying power on the island.
That buying power translates to services, rent and supplies necessary to support the remote worker, and in turn, supporting the local economy. That support of the local economy is really what islands should be chasing, as it means less government support and is good for all involved.
Set the terms
Speaking of buying power, allowing for remote workers means that islands can set the terms for international applicants. This means a generation of income through application fees, and other permits required to allow them to work remotely. Islands can dictate taxes involved, as well, and benefit from someone bringing their own money, but paying income tax while living on island soil.
To protect themselves from having to support workers if things go south, islands can also require terms that dictate a minimum income required to work remotely, and require the worker to show proof with work history and pay stubs. Islands can also place a limit on the amount of time a remote worker can stay, so as to limit the possibility of them becoming a liability.
Basically, enough people want to work remotely on an island that they’re willing to do almost anything and pay whatever it takes to make that happen.
Lessen the strain on transportation
Remote work, especially when extended to locals, can lessen the strain on a struggling infrastructure, as well. Fewer workers commuting means less wear and tear on roads, less emissions and less stress on public transportation. Plus, remote workers can have fees or taxes to support these endeavors, as well.
Also, especially if there are international visitors, it lessens the accidents that a lot of foreigners can cause. Many, unfortunately, are learning the rules of the road after they start driving a car or scooter, and it can be costly. Allowing for remote work means less time foreign workers are on the roads.
Improve local life
Allowing for remote work on an island can also improve the life of locals. It can provide more of a work-life balance for those that must travel across the islands with ferries for work, and they may be able to do some of that work from home. While it’s understandable that those involved in the tourism industry may not be able to do so as frequently, there may be some tasks that they can focus on from a home computer instead of working from the office.
Tasks such as booking reservations or making phone calls can still be done effectively from other locations. Land can also allow for more green space and undeveloped landscape that can then be used for parks or other ways the locals can enjoy the island.
Many remote workers perform tasks such as freelance writing that allows them to really take in the local atmosphere. The more remote workers you allow, the more writing, social media bragging and photography of what makes your island so great. And, in the world of ‘keeping up with the joneses‘, others will want to follow.
Remote workers can help drive the tourism industry once people see others like them exploring your beautiful location. They can also help support the local economy by promoting local restaurants and tour groups, making the operation more self-sustainable.
As you can see, there are lots of socio-economic benefits to be had by islands who can learn to embrace knowledge workers!
Learn more about remote work in this article: Improving your work in a remote setting